Friday, January 21, 2011

My love/hate relationship with yeast

I love yeast.  It helps me make many delicious things. Yeast, however, does not like me.  I only really use it when I make my Nana's Coffee Ring.  And when Thanksgiving rolled around this year, I was in charge of making it all by myself this year (it was something I had always done with my Dad while he was teaching me how to make it).  I was really nervous about it and didn't want to mess it up - this was a lot of pressure to make this thing perfect and up to my Dad's standards.  I had done a dry run the week before and they came out amazing!  My Dad was so proud of me and told me that I was now permanently in charge of them.  Huge honor and compliment. 

So it came time to start the process of making the Coffee Ring - its a 2 day process.  I had a bunch of other things to make for Thanksgiving as well, so I was in for a long 2 days of baking.  I figured I would start by making the dough for the Coffee Ring and started by activating the yeast packet.  I added a tablespoon of sugar like always and waited a couple minutes for the yeast to activate.  Nothing happened - just a pitiful amount of bubbling and no foaming and rising to the top of the cup like it should.  So I waited another 5 minutes and checked on it again.  Nothing.  I dumped it out and opened another yeast packet and waited for it to activate.  5 minutes goes by and again, nothing!  I wait another 10 minutes for this guy thinking that he will activate for me, and nothing.  I call my mom at work and tell her that I know I'm doing everything right and nothing is happening.  She tells me it happens sometimes that you get a packet or two of yeast that doesn't activate.  I hang up and go try again, positive that this will be the packet to work.  20 minutes later....nothing! I'm starting to get frustrated and swearing at a cup of water and unactivated yeast sitting on my parents kitchen counter. 

I end up going through 5, that's right, 5 packets of yeast that we had on hand and none of them worked.  At this point I'm at the end of my rope and have to leave the house to go to the grocery store and go get more packets of yeast.  And going to the grocery store 2 days before a major holiday - forget it! 

30 minutes later I arrive back at my parents house with 5 new packets of yeast, praying that at least 3 of them work - because I need 3 packets to make dough for 2 Coffee Rings and Pumpkin Rolls.  I'm thinking in my head "If I have to go back out and get more yeast packets I'm going to freak out.  Please let these work".  First packet emptied and waiting to activate, I'm very hopeful that this is the one to work.  I go in the kitchen to check - nothing!  I start swearing - if anyone walked in on me you would of sworn I was born to truckers.  It was not pretty.  I empty it out and start another packet.  Nothing.  Now I'm on the verge of tears and swearing up a storm.  I've got everything ready to go in the stand mixer, just waiting for the activated yeast.  I end up calming myself down by having a drink - at this point its 12, I started at 9. 

Yes - Mojito - and it was delicious
I have a Mojito to calm me down before I even think about going back into the kitchen to try again.  I've only got 3 packets left and I need all of them to activate.  I go into the kitchen and try again.  5 minutes later - SUCCESS!!  Holy crap! I was floored!! And needless to say I didn't waste a moment starting the dough for the Coffee Ring. 

It finally did it's job! And it ended up making an amazingly fluffy Coffee Ring

fluffy dough :)

The next day I rolled it out and filled it with the filling and rolled it up and let it raise again.  I was now on a roll. 

waiting to go into the oven

And then finally, the finished Coffee Ring

Frosted and with festive fall sprinkles

Needless to say I was so happy to be done.  And yes, the other 2 packets worked that day too!  But now every time I need to use yeast, I get a little nervous.  But I'm happy to say that I haven't had an incident like this one since....and I hope to never have another one like it. 


  1. This looks soooo good, CB! I'm glad you faced your fear of yeast and conquered! ;)

  2. what a wild scene this must have been! looks delish :)

  3. You have no idea! I can look back on it now and laugh :)